Regional project seeks to improve walking, bicycle, transit options

Certified instructor David Bange leads a group of cyclists Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, along the Greenway Trail during a community bike ride that began at Ellis-Porter Riverside Park.

Not everyone in the region has regular access to a car, but they still need to get around. A new regional project seeks to fill that transportation void with pedestrian, bicycle and transit options.

The plan, which is being spearheaded by the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO), would seek to find those solutions for communities such as Lake Mykee, Holts Summit, St. Martins, Wardsville, Taos and Jefferson City.

The CAMPO board approved a request for proposals Wednesday, which will allow companies to place bids for developing the new plan. At the moment, the project goals are broad, but it would likely get more detailed as a consultant is picked.

The goals include:

- Integrating existing plans such as the Jefferson City sidewalk plan and greenway plan while expanding them to other CAMPO areas.

- Identifying the gaps and barriers that affect walking, bicycling and transit use such as environmental factors and missing infrastructure.

- Developing a tool to help educate on active transportation options within the CAMPO region.

- Identifying and prioritizing infrastructure projects such as trail connectors, areas in need of sidewalks, greenway corridors and roadway designs.

- Identifying policy and code recommendations on sidewalk, greenway and other transportation methods.

- Establishing policies and program recommendations to encourage walking, biking and transit as transportation methods.

- Identifying strategies to improve Jefferson City's Bicycle Friendly Community designation from the League of American Bicyclists and methods for other CAMPO cities to receive the designation.

- Identifying funding options to upgrade facilities and determine maintenance requirements.

Setting a capital improvement schedule.

Using a robust public engagement campaign to achieve the project goals.

The goal is for some of the recommendations for the plan to come from the public and stakeholder groups about what they would like to see in the region.

Funding for the study will come from Missouri Department of Transportation consolidated planning grant and local matching funds.

According to the request for proposals, CAMPO encompasses 153 square miles with a population of more than 77,000.

As it stands, the region has around 150 miles of sidewalk, 18 miles of greenway and 25 miles of unpaved walking and biking trails.

The study came up because CAMPO staff was looking at internally updating the pedestrian and bike plan, but after talking with other Jefferson City departments they changed directions.

Including the sidewalk and greenway plans, which would get an update as well, will turn the plan into more of an Active Transportation Plan, which CAMPO hasn't done before.